The South American country of Ecuador has incredibly rejected socialism and elected a new president who touted his capitalist ideas during the campaign. Remind you of anyone?
Guillermo Lasso, a banker by trade, has handily won Ecuador’s election this month with 52 percent of the vote in a runoff election that pitted him against leftist Andres Arauz, who pledged to go back to a socialist system.
Lasso also spoke against the International Monetary Fund’s recommendation to raise the value-added tax as part of a $65 million economic rescue package. But Lasso disagreed.
“We are not going to raise taxes, we will not raise VAT,” Lasso told reporters upon his victory. “We must be ambitious and achieve a zero deficit in four years of government. We will not depend on debt.”
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He also had other plans. Per Reuters:
Lasso said he would also propose new risk-sharing contracts with private companies in the country’s key oil sector in order to boost crude production, though he said he would respect all contracts with companies that were currently operating.
He also told reporters he was wary of oil drilling in the Yasuni national park in Ecuador’s Amazon region, and said he supported an audit to determine the costs of environmental remediation to “determine if extraction from those oil wells is really profitable.”
Lasso’s third campaign for the presidency centered on bringing in foreign investment to create jobs and on expanding investments in the agricultural sector. On Monday, he pledged to pursue free trade agreements with several countries, including the United States and China, to attract investment.
Socialism has a very long history in South America. So, any time a politician bucks that trend, it is noteworthy.
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